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May 13, 2014 0

Al Jazeera Forum For Young Journalists Tainted By Anti-Semitic Article

Al Jazeera Talk, an Arabic-language web­site launched in 2006 to pro­vide young Arab jour­nal­ists with a vehi­cle to show­case their work, pub­lished the first in a series of arti­cles today by Iraqi jour­nal­ist, Taha Al-Ani, on the noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic forgery The Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.al-jazeera-talk-taha-al-ani

In his arti­cle, Al-Ani says that he hopes his report on Al Jazeera Talk can “estab­lish an edu­ca­tional ground to our com­mu­ni­ties to real­ize the great Jew­ish threat…”

“…the learned elders of Zion,” Al-Ani writes, seek to “rule the world with tyranny and to spread cor­rup­tion and immoral­ity.” He also adds:

If threat is con­sid­ered, the Jews are the biggest threat, if hate is con­sid­ered, the Jews are the most hate­ful, if mal­ice is con­sid­ered, the Jews are the most mali­cious. If trick­ery and cun­ning are con­sid­ered, the Jews are the best of them! Con­sider whichever you wish to think about, and you will see that the Jews are the most dan­ger­ous nation.

Al Jazeera Talk in Ara­bic describes itself on its offi­cial Face­book page as a vehi­cle for the younger gen­er­a­tion of Arab jour­nal­ists to receive expo­sure. It also stresses that such expo­sure is achieved through “a global forum united by higher human­i­tar­ian val­ues to extend bridges of dialog.”

While the web­site seems to func­tion inde­pen­dently from the Al Jazeera Net­work, it does have its own terms of ser­vices that say, in part, “Any mate­r­ial includ­ing defama­tion, insult or accu­sa­tion to any per­son, reli­gion or race will be rejected.”

It is unfor­tu­nate that Al Jazeera Talk has allowed such anti-Semitism to taint its efforts to engage younger jour­nal­ists and audi­ences through this medium. The arti­cle is a dan­ger­ous reminder of how some jour­nal­ists in the Arab world con­tinue to pro­mote anti-Semitism to the younger generations.

Accord­ing to the Anti-Defamation League’s world­wide sur­vey of anti-Semitic atti­tudes, The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of respon­dents hold­ing anti-Semitic atti­tudes was found in Mid­dle East and North African coun­tries (“MENA”), where nearly three-quarters of respon­dents, 74 per­cent of those polled, agreed with a major­ity of the anti-Semitic stereo­types that com­prise the 11-question index.

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January 28, 2014 4

Al Jazeera Poll Goes “The Opposite Direction” On The Holocaust

Al Jazeera Holocaust poll

A screen­shot of the poll on Al Jazeera’s website

Update – Jan­u­ary 31, 2014: Accord­ing to the results pro­vided on Al Jazeera’s web­site, 95.4% of those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the poll agreed that Bashar Al-Assad crimes in Syria are worse than Hitler’s crimes. 46,641 par­tic­i­pants voted.

The pan-Arab satel­lite tele­vi­sion net­work Al Jazeera is con­duct­ing a poll ask­ing its view­ers to vote on whether they believe Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar Al-Assad’s “crimes” are worse than Hitler’s “Nazi crimes.”

The poll, posted on Al Jazeera’s web­site on Jan­u­ary 24, runs through Jan­u­ary 30, when the results will be broad­cast on one of Al Jazeera’s most pop­u­lar live shows, El-Itidjah el-Mouakass [The Oppo­site Direc­tion]. The show often fea­tures debates between guests about top­ics raised in its polls.

While the ongo­ing con­flict in Syria has been one of the most heated issues dis­cussed on the show in recent months, Al Jazeera’s poll ques­tion reflects the degree to which the Holo­caust is mis­un­der­stood and mis­rep­re­sented in the Arab world.

The premise of the poll is inap­pro­pri­ate because it com­pares the death of more than six mil­lion Jews who were not part of any armed con­flict and were anni­hi­lated for no rea­son other than their faith and cul­ture to the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis and vio­lence in Syria.

The show’s host, Dr. Faisal Al-Qassem, posted a link to the poll on his per­sonal Face­book page to encour­age his more than three mil­lion fol­low­ers to par­tic­i­pate in the poll.

Iron­i­cally, most of the com­ments on Al-Qassem’s Face­book page express out­rage against the premise, but for all the wrong rea­sons. “Unlike Bashar, Hitler killed the Jews and not his own peo­ple,” one com­ment reads, sug­gest­ing that Hitler’s crimes are some­how more justified.

Sim­i­larly, other com­ments state that there is no way to com­pare the two at all because, unlike Bashar, “Hitler was defend­ing his people.”

These com­ments and oth­ers demon­strate how the lessons of the Holo­caust are woe­fully mis­un­der­stood, or worse, are grotesquely dis­torted in the Arab World. The poll ques­tion adds to this prob­lem and to the triv­i­al­iza­tion of the Holo­caust, which con­tin­ues to go unex­am­ined in main­stream Arab media.

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August 21, 2013 2

Al Jazeera America Debut Featuring Stephen Walt Casts Doubt Over Network’s Objectivity

stephen-walt-al-jazeera-english-israel

Stephen Walt (right) appears on Al Jazeera America

August 20 marked the much antic­i­pated pre­miere of Al Jazeera Amer­ica, the Qatari government-backed 24-hour news broad­caster that has sought to make greater inroads in the Amer­i­can mar­ket in recent years. Although the net­work has striven to assure the pub­lic that it will present the news in an objec­tive man­ner, Al Jazeera America’s debut news seg­ment cast imme­di­ate doubt over its impartiality.

Their pro­gram on Tues­day fea­tured an inter­view with anti-Israel pro­fes­sor and author Stephen Walt dis­cussing the tur­moil in Egypt. Al Jazeera’s choice of Walt as its first guest raises early ques­tions regard­ing the network’s claimed inten­tion to pro­vide the Amer­i­can pub­lic sto­ries that are “impar­tial, accu­rate and comprehensive.” 

Stephen Walt, an Inter­na­tional Affairs Pro­fes­sor at the Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment, is best known for his anti-Israel posi­tion as described in his 2007 book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. For­eign Pol­icy,” co-authored with John Mearsheimer. Walt is a pro­po­nent of a one-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, and has sev­eral times accused the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. of exer­cis­ing exces­sive power to sti­fle crit­i­cism of Israel.

Prior to the launch of Al Jazeera Amer­ica, the net­work received con­sid­er­able praise from jour­nal­ists, such as Soledad O’Brien and John Seigen­thaler, who were assured that the new sta­tion would focus more on Amer­i­can issues and less on opin­ions and inter­na­tional news. Accord­ing to Ehab Al Shi­habi, Al Jazeera America’s act­ing chief exec­u­tive, “Al Jazeera Amer­ica will air fact-based, unbi­ased and in-depth news.” 

Since the Qatar-based net­work announced the cre­ation of Al Jazeera Amer­ica in early 2013, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed its ongo­ing con­cerns about the pan-Arab satel­lite network’s “trou­bling record” of pro­vid­ing a plat­form to all man­ner of vir­u­lent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extrem­ists. Al Jazeera America’s deci­sion to fea­ture Walt on its inau­gural broad­cast was not an aus­pi­cious beginning.

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